What Is a WAN Miniport Driver?

by Matt McGew

A wide area network is a telecommunications network dispersed over a large geographical area. Public and private organizations use this type of network to provide information and services to users accessing it from multiple locations. A WAN miniport driver allows an Internet-enabled device to establish an active connection with the network.

WAN Miniport Driver

The WAN miniport driver communicates with several higher-level transport protocols and drivers, including the layer2 tunneling protocol, point-to-point protocol over Ethernet and point-to-point tunneling protocol. The requirements of the connection and operating system ultimately determine the type of miniport needed for the network.

Network Interface Controller

To access the Internet and send and receive data, a computer requires a network interface controller, which also provides access to local and wireless area networks. Computers in a given network communicate using a common language or protocol that moves packets of data between nodes. The NIC enables this information to pass through public or virtual private networks.


Point-to-point protocol over Ethernet connects multiple users to different remote sites using a digital subscriber line, cable modem or wireless connection. PPPoE networks, therefore, allow administrators to set up shared Internet access for an organization. A miniport driver helps monitor data sent to and from the users of the network, and many large organizations use this application to track employees' individual Internet usage.


Whether connecting to a public or a private network, security represents a major concern for network administrators. WAN miniport drivers offer security parameters that help ensure safety on virtual private networks, which use a public network to establish a connection with a private network. In other words, a VPN allows users to connect to a private network from an Internet-enabled device located outside the private network. Government and private organizations commonly use VPNs to facilitate the sending and receiving of data, voice and video via confidential communication networks.

About the Author

Since 1992 Matt McGew has provided content for on and offline businesses and publications. Previous work has appeared in the "Los Angeles Times," Travelocity and "GQ Magazine." McGew specializes in search engine optimization and has a Master of Arts in journalism from New York University.